NYSDOT Begins Tree Removal For K-Bridge Project

Work Will Safeguard Endangered Species During Construction, Minimize Project Delays

ALBANY, NY (03/26/2014)(readMedia)-- New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Commissioner Joan McDonald today announced that approximately 140 trees in Brooklyn and Queens are being removed in advance of a project to replace the Kosciuszko Bridge carrying the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway over Newtown Creek. Removing the trees now will protect an endangered bat population and protect against delays during construction once a contractor is selected.

"It is important to be environmentally responsible during all of our construction projects, especially when dealing with endangered species," Commissioner McDonald said. "Removing the trees prior to nesting season will allow the bats to find safe, secure locations through the year while ensuring that the contractor selected for the Kosciuszko Bridge replacement project will not need to delay construction on this critical infrastructure project."

Tree removal must be completed by March 31 in order to comply with federal regulations designed to protect the endangered northern long-eared bat. Clusters of trees are considered a potential summertime bat habitat. Clearing the trees now ensures that bats will not nest in these trees, and so won't be harmed by tree cutting later in the season.

The trees are being removed from property acquired by NYSDOT to make room for the new bridge, as well as along Cherry Street and Vandervoort Avenue in Brooklyn, which will be realigned as part of the project. Additional trees are being removed from eastbound Meeker Avenue between Kingsland and Varick avenues to make room for a temporary bridge to carry traffic during construction.

NYSDOT continues to progress a contract to replace the Kosciuszko Bridge and work is expected to begin later this year. NYSDOT is currently evaluating proposals from several construction contractors, and all indicated their schedules would be impacted if the trees were not removed this spring. A landscaping package included in the contract will provide for the planting of 300 trees within the project limits.